SUNDAY, THIRTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Ex 22: 20-26; Ps 18; 1 Thes 1: 5-10; Mt 22: 34-40
WE ARE HIS CHOSEN
Any simple logic will teach us that when we do everything in the right way, we can live a good life. The right direction is necessary in our daily lives. Parents regularly guide their children so that they live a good life. In society, we have rules and regulations so that all may live a good life. There is no society or institution where there are no laws or guidelines. The readings of the day help us in this direction.
The first reading tells us what we need to do and what we must avoid. Through Moses, God guides the people of Israel whom he has chosen as his own, to lead a good and righteous life. He reminds them how they must behave, what they must follow and what they should avoid. Especially, he teaches them through their own life experiences in Egypt, reminding them of their past lives. They lacked proper human dignity, and were treated inhumanly. But God reminds them not to do likewise instead to love all and to help all equally.
In the second reading, St Paul reminds the Thessalonians how he and his followers were kind and in what way they reached out to them. He also reminds them how from their superfluous lifestyle and worship of pagan gods, they turned to the true God and excelled in true faith. So, now he invites them always to be kind and good to others likewise to prove their discipleship and to be true witnesses by living that deep faith in the living God.
In the Gospel today, Jesus sums up the Ten Commandments into two – Love of God and Love of neighbour. While the Israelites were supposed to follow 613 laws and many subsidiary laws added by the Pharisees as explanations, Jesus proposes just two laws/commandments. Of the Ten commandments, which were given by God to Moses, the first three were directed to God and the remaining seven referred to humanity. They were directing man to love of God and love of neighbour. And this sums the whole Bible. These two are inseparable, two sides The Right Way to Live of the same coin. They are interrelated, one cannot exist without the other. In other words, we can say there cannot be horizontal line without the vertical line or vertical line without the horizontal line. This means we can never prove our love for God without loving our neighbour.
The Israelites were trying to proving their love and service to God their Saviour. Besides they also had to undergo lots of hardships to prove their belonginess to the one living God. The readings today invite us to prove our love and belongingness to our true God in reaching out to the hundreds of victims of injustice, the strangers, windows, orphans, marginalized and to stand for them. Can we close our eyes and ears and keep quiet? Though we may not be able to do much, we can pray for them, whenever possible extend a helping hand, support those who help them, encourage those who come forward to help, utter kind and loving words and never turn away when opportunities come knocking on our door.
For example, let us take the situation of Manipur without going into the political or religious views / ideas. So many people died, so many suffered injuries and so many were displaced. What was my reaction? Did I continue with my life without being disturbed? Did it in any way affect me? Practically, what could I have done? May be raising my heart and mind to God for peace and harmony and also to enlighten those who are involved, joining the prayer groups wherever and whenever they were organised, generously giving financial or material help when it was requested.
These kinds of situation are happening all across the world in one or the other. Almost for two years, this is happening in Russia and Ukraine? It is happening in many nations in Africa and Asia. God always proved to be God of love and compassion, He always accompanied those least and lost people. Our love for God too, has to lead us to these kinds of people. This is the right way to live. This is the Christian way to live, in solidarity and in the company of those who are in need, especially in need of love.
Response: I love you, Lord, my strength.
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